Breaking Shatters Hearts and Expectations

The Stream: If you are expecting a bank heist, you are at the wrong movie.

The Big Screen: John Boyega is giving his all in this performance.

The Final Bill: An emotional and intense movie that is not what you were expecting.

– Trip Fontaine
Director: Abi Damaris Corbin
Writers: Abi Damaris Corbin and Kwame Kwei-Armah
Stars: John Boyega, Nicole Beharie, Selenis Leyva, Michael Kenneth Williams, Connie Britton
Genre: Crime, Drama, Thriller
Rating: PG-13 for some violent content, and strong language
Runtime: 1 hour 37 minutes
Production Companies: Salmira Productions, Little Lamb, UpperRoom Productions, EPIC Magazine
Platform: In theaters August 26, 2022
Notable Trailers: Till, The Woman King, Ticket to Paradise, Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, Black Adam

Well, Streamers, it seems like we are scraping the bottom of the barrel in these last gasps of the summer movie season. At this time of year, we catch up on the little movies that are premiering and whatever else we’ve missed until the fall movie season starts up. Last weekend, Breaking was released in theaters to little fanfare. Yours truly caught up with the crime drama/thriller. Here’s whether this bank heist stole my attention.

Breaking seems like one of those crime dramas like Denzel Washington’s John Q. John Boyega plays Brian Bown-Easley, a former Marine Corps veteran, who is down on his luck and struggling just to get by. Brian is having trouble receiving his benefits from the VA, which is causing him to face impending homelessness. He has a daughter to support and no prospects. Brian takes desperate action by taking a bank hostage in an attempt to get the money he’s owed. It sounds like a riveting story and a good foundation for a thriller. However, the audience is told at the very beginning that this is story is based on true events, which just makes everything that happens afterward that much more tragic.

Yes, this is a harrowing story. The movie is intense from the moment Brian steps into the bank. John Boyega has such great control of the screen. He taps into the desperation of his character and his circumstances. It is a very heightened situation that feels like it will end badly. Boyega does a great job in showing the inevitability of all that’s gone on. Nicole Beharie and Michael K. Williams (RIP) have supporting roles that are impactful as well. Beharie and Williams have been good in about everything they’ve done and this is no exception.

Mercifully, Breaking has a very short runtime. It has to be tight in order to portray the intensity of this moment. The morality of what Brian is doing is front and center. The fact that the movie is based on true events is never far from your mind. However, the ultimate indictment of the issue with the VA isn’t handled that well, which is a missed opportunity. Nevertheless, due to Boyega, Beharie and Williams the audience feels it all and that at least makes it seem worthwhile.

S2S: Official Rating Scale

Ultimately, Breaking is a well-intentioned movie about a pretty serious subject matter, but it is packaged as an intense thriller. It is intense and very emotional, but it’s not the blockbuster, bank heist, thriller that it has been promoted to be. The cast is good and conveys the heartbreaking part of this story. With that warning, Breaking is effective, even if a bit deceptive in its approach. A bowl of popcorn for a matinee viewing is my suggestion.